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Full text of "NightRider"

*4S

trolling supply. But let me digress, if you please, sir. When,
I ask, is the tobacco plant most vulnerable? When it is
young and tender. In the plant bed before it is set in the
field. Then a few strokes of a hoe, and a thousand pounds
of leaf have disappeared. Very simple."

"You mean-----" Mr. Munn hesitated. He looked at

Professor Ball's palish, preacherish face, with its high, narrow
forehead and scraggly beard. "You mean, scrape a man's
plant bed?"

"You might go so far as to say it was his own fault,"
Professor Ball said. " He'd have a free option. He could join
the Association and abide by its rules and regulations, or "—
he looked away from Mr. Munn and fixed his mild gaze on
some imaginary spot across the room in the shadow—"it
would be his own responsibility."

Mr. Munn shook his head and rose slowly to his feet. " It
just isn't in me, I reckon," he admitted. Mr. Christian came
quickly to him and put a heavy hand on his shoulder, as
though to force him back into his seat, and said, "Now,
Perse, don't be going off half-cocked!" Doctor MacDonald,
who had not changed his position, was watching with that
same secret half smile on his face and the dead pipe stuck
between his bared teeth.

"You'd be surprised what's in you," Professor Ball said
quietly, " sometimes. Now take me, for instance."

Mr. Munn sank slowly into his chair.

" I'm a peaceful man. My hand has never been raised in
anger against a fellow creature. When I was young, my
weak constitution kept me from following the path of
patriotic valour, like your uncle Mordecai. And I often
meditated going into the ministry and preaching the gospel
of Jesus Christ, and many's the night I wrestled with the
angel in sweat and prayer to know if I had a clear and certain
caU. Yes, sir, I'm a man of peace. But it's surprising to a
man what he'll find in himself sometimes."

Mr. Munn shook his head meditatively.  " No," he said.

But Professor Ball seemed to be paying him no attention.